Succession Planning Strategies And Tactics

To orchestrate the successful transition of a retail senior insurance practice, much effort will be required in building a comprehensive plan, as well as executing many important details. In this third and final installment of my succession planning series, we’ll discuss the track my buyer laid out for us to run on this year. This applies to any type of insurance business, but mine was primarily Medicare.

Phase I—Documentation

  1. Signed purchase agreement with key terms and conditions.
  2. NIPR report on the seller for all state licenses and carrier appointments.
  3. Carrier-specific Agent of Record (AOR) forms for all active MAPD/PDP accounts.
  4. Assignment of Commissions (AOC) forms for all active Med Supp/Ancillary accounts.
  5. Seller W-9 + voided check for deferred payments (if applicable).
  6. License-Only Agent (LOA) contracting through buyer agency + carrier releases (if applicable).

*Phase I Important Consideration*
You may (should be) thinking, this is a lot of information—it’s true. Let’s re-consider the “Who” focal point of my previous Broker World article—regardless of the offer, you could cost yourself thousands of dollars by making the wrong decision. Dollars of actual currency, time, or relationships—and always be cognizant of the fact that the highest offer isn’t always the best one.

The firm you choose must have a track record of servicing a volume of clients like yours along with the technology and support to execute on the plan. Doubling (or more) the size of an agency by adding your practice is a tough ask for an agent. Wholesale firms’ clients are agents and agencies, not seniors. The experience for both your clients and yourself is important!

Phase II—Processing

  • Tasks for All Active Seller Accounts
    • Completed entity and personal licensing for active states.
    • Completed entity and personal contracting for active carriers.
    • Ready to Sell status for active CMS products.
  • Weekly Follow Up on Carrier
    • AOR processes on CMS accounts.
    • AOC processes on Med Supp/Ancillary accounts.
    • LOA processes on desired retained carriers (if applicable).

*Phase II Important Consideration*
If your buyer doesn’t have the infrastructure to manage these projects, future revenues will not transition correctly. If you have a buyer who is not concerned or focused on these critical details during your due diligence process, you are in for a long and messy transition. When preparation and diligence is taken with these tasks, the entire process should take 90 days or less to complete!

Phase III—Integration

  • Business
    • Websites/numbers/accounts/communication tools should be transitioned.
    • EFT payments should be received as indicated in the purchase agreement.
  • Clients
    • Seller messaging about the transition should be sent via typical communication method(s).
    • Buyer messaging about the transition should be sent via desired new communication method(s).
  • Producing Seller (if applicable)
    • Systems/processes/technology/tools implemented.
    • LOA contracts in place.
    • New biz customer/account/revenue agreements activated.

*Phase III Important Consideration*
Effective. Communication. Is. Key. There must be open, active and regular lines of communication from the beginning of the relationship through all three phases—for the mutual success of buyer/seller/clients. When in doubt, reach out. This will be a process not an event. You will have a partner for months/years to come (whether or not new business is being written). Mutual respect and understanding are imperative to the long term success of this process!

When I sold my book of business (primarily Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug clients) one of my fears was that my clients may not stay with my buyer. For that reason, I didn’t telegraph my intention to my clients. In retrospect, I feel that I would have been ahead in letting every client know that, due to my health and age, I was attempting to find the best buyer to succeed as their personal agent—one that would give them the same amount of service. When the announcement was made it left several of my clients confused, thinking that I had somehow abandoned them. However, also taking on the position of LOA (Licensed Only Agent) for the firm that acquired my book of business, I remained licensed in the industry. This last step was a “comfort zone” to many that otherwise felt that I had somehow abandoned them.

If you are a broker thinking about your own succession plan, I encourage you to let me know and I will share some of the steps that led to my final decision on how I selected a buyer, and how the purchase value was developed using data on each of my clients. Every agent’s business is different, but certain elements in any succession plan are essential if you want a smooth and financially prudent transition.

is a graduate of Wichita State University with a degree in Business Administration, and then earned his MBA from the University of Arizona. A late bloomer to the insurance world, Dean joined with what was then GE Capital Assurance in Overland Park, KS, as a captive agent selling long term care insurance for Genworth in 1999, and after earning the title of Master Agent, broke free of the captive status and served as a consultant to Personalized Brokerage Services in Topeka, KS, when they were developing their LTC Division. For 10 years Dean managed the Senior Products Division of Forrest T. Jones & Company in Kansas City, MO. While serving in this position he quickly understood the need to guide individuals who needed assistance when they became Medicare eligible. This in turn became the major thrust of the division, and thousands of prospective clients were assisted, primarily members of the Missouri Retired Teachers Association. Dean became widely known as “The Medicare Man” throughout the association of more than 25,000 members.

Dean then formed his own agency, Senior Products Insurance, which is now located in Shawnee, KS, and eventually sold his book of business to a firm in Iowa that specializes in managing and servicing insurance clients on behalf of agents. Dean is licensed to market life and health insurance products in 11 states.

Dean and can be reached at, or at Senior Products Insurance, 15729 W. 62nd St., Shawnee, KS 66217. Telephone and text: 913-909-3749. Email: